Skaters dismiss report claiming collusion between Russian, U.S. judges
American skating pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White were on the defensive Saturday night in Sochi after a report in the French magazine L’Equipe said a deal was in place between Russian and U.S. judges to help both country’s teams at the expense of defending Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.
“That’s the first time we’re hearing that, so that’s unfortunate that there’s an article,” Davis told Gary Mihoces of USA Today. “But we’re so focused on our jobs, and we really don’t know a whole lot about anything else. I think we’re confident that what we’re putting out on the ice kind of speaks for itself.”
Added White: “We don’t really let any sort of external factors … play any sort of equation to what we’re doing or what we’re expecting. … We’re here to do our job, and it’s the Olympics.”
The L’Equipe report, which was attributed to an unnamed Russian coach, said the deal was for the judges to help Davis and White win ice dancing, and for the Russian team to win pairs and the team event. Davis and White were first in the ice dancing short program in the team event on Saturday with 75.98 points, while Virtue and Moir, who the Americans train with, were second with 72.98 points.
“The best thing about being an athlete at the Olympic Games is that’s none of our concern,” Moir said. ” … Our goal is just go out there and kind of make a tribute to our career and the training we’ve done this year and make all Canadians and figure skating proud.”
Said U.S. Figure Skating director of communications Barbara Reichert in a statement: “Comments made in a L’Equipe story are categorically false. There is no ‘help’ between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture.”
A 2002 Olympic scandal involving Russia and Canada led the IOC to award a second pairs gold medal to the Canadian pair of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.